Monday, July 28, 2008

I hear chef Spike's cooking down the street (Bah humbug)

Well, since we seem to enjoy the ground beef patties on a delicious bun so much here at the blog, I figured this needed a post. Spike from the latest season of Top Chef has opened his own burger joint in Washington, DC. Good Stuff Eatery, on Pennsylvania Avenue SE (take the Capitol South metro stop), is a wonderful experience that ought to be had by anyone looking for a good, quick dinner or lunch. After reading about the joint in a few different places, I went there last Friday and came away suitably impressed.

We were greeted by an older gentleman at the door (who we later learned was Spike's dad) who had a big smile and made us feel quite welcome (which is key in a new restaurant... it's hard to break out of habits, so it's easier when they make it so inviting). On walking in, I noticed a fedora-adorned head standing at the front of the line delivering milkshakes and orders. It was Spike! Our very own quasi-celebrity! We got in the long, but quick-moving line, and and went past the cooking line, where everything looked and smelled delicious. The staff was friendly, though the loud music made it hard to hear (though really, I can't complain since it was Jet Airliner by The Steve Miller Band). After placing our order, we were given those little buzzer thingies to let us know when it was ready. We went to the dipping bar to grab some sauces for our fries, and didn't get what we expected. Sure there was ketchup and mustard, but we also had 4 different types of mayos. I don't remember one of them, but the other three were mango mayo, chipotle mayo, and Old Bay mayo. The mango mayo was overpowered by the fries (more on that in a second) but the Old Bay and chipotle mayos made great compliments to our side dish.

While waiting for our number (V had gotten a table outside) Spike had a milkshake either accidentally made or done for this purpose as a marketing ploy, but held it up and said "Toasted Marshmallow milkshake, free." I was a ways back, so I decided to let others clambor for it, but when no one did, I thought "hell, why not?" and grabbed the shake. It was what I had planned on getting before I opted for the root beer float. It came garnished with two toasted marshmallows and was delicious. My float was alright, though nothing spectacular, and V got a Milky Way milkshake that she raved about.

The main delight, however, was the hamburger. I had the Colletti's Smokehouse which came with a patty of beef, bacon, bbq sauce, and onion rings. It was probably the best non-homemade burger I've had in ages, and handily beats Five Guys, my previous DC fave. The bacon was tasty and the BBQ sauce didn't overwhelm the other flavors. V had the Uncle D's Chili 'N Cheddar, which from my one bite was also delicious. As to our fries, we didn't opt for normal fries, instead going for the Village Fries which come seasoned with thyme, rosemary, and cracked pepper. They were amazing, though as mentioned earlier, overwhelmed some of the dipping sauces. That said, they were so good plain that no sauce was needed.

With a large order of fries split between us and a burger apiece, V and I were far more stuffed than I had anticipated. The prices are hardly cheap ($31 for two burgers, a large fry, and two ice cream drinks) but they aren't prohibitively expensive either. I can't forget to mention that the joint has beer on tap as well, Blue Moon and Sam Adams I believe. I may have found a new favorite quick eat spot in DC, and already have plans to go back next Friday when V has a friend in town.

Tiny Vikings

I laughed at this for quite a while. Good way to start the week:

Thursday, July 24, 2008


This just seems excessive...

It reminds me of one of my all-time favorite commercials, the exploding mosquito.

Pulled Chicken

So, struggling to come up with new and creative dinner ideas for the GF and me, I turned to the Seattle PI for some tasty recipes. The first one I tried was an absolute winner and about the easiest meal I have made in ages. This pulled chicken sandwich was tasty as they gave the recipe, but I modified a few things and it came out even better. If you add about 2 more tablespoons of vinegar and 2/3 to 1 Tablespoons (remember, 3 teaspoons to the tablespoon!) of Tabasco, the recipe really shines. I am not a big vinegar fan, even in a normal barbeque sauce, but for some reason I think it really adds to a pulled meat sandwich.

For BBQ sauce, you could make your own but that defeats the laziness factor of this (took me only 10 minutes to make). Instead, I used my favorite from-the-bottle sauce, Sweet Baby Rays. I used the original, but their spicy recipe is good too (if you use that, you can cut out most of the Tabasco). And for chicken, I did as they said (lazy!) and used a rotisserie chicken bought at Safeway.

Overall, this was a great dinner, and one big sandwich filled me up. There was enough for probably 4 generous sandwiches. Next on my list to try, this and this.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Top Nerd Movies of the Summer (Caution, spoilers?)

This isn't a ranked list, because I don't have the patience to sit and mete out the pros and cons of each film, but here are the first nerd movies I have seen this summer. So, in chronological order of when I saw them:

01. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (05/22/2008)
The first movie I saw for the summer, and it fit perfectly into the summer blockbuster, popcorn movie mold. Which is what I was expecting out of it. Maybe it's because in an attempt to bring some of my roommates up to speed we watched Temple of Doom right before we went out to see this one, but the camp and ridiculousness felt right at home in the Indiana Jones universe. I know they were these super butch action movies or whatever in every dude's mind, but c'mon. Evil monkeys? Hilarious seduction scenes? Explicit racism? Spielberg through and through.

02. Iron Man (06/12/2008)
SO much better than I anticipated it being. Robert Downey Jr. was clearly a perfect choice to embody the boozin', hard livin', reckless millionaire Tony Stark. The origin tweaks transitioned smoothly into the new universe Marvel Studios are building for their heroes.

03. The Incredible Hulk (06/13/2008)
Seeing this in a double feature with Iron Man made more sense in theory, especially because Marvel Studios is clearly gearing up for some sort of ridiculous Nick Fury movie, but the contrast between the films was, well, stark (hurr hurr). While Iron Man was both fun and retained just enough gravitas to make itself meaningful, The Incredible Hulk had a lot of dudes breaking shit. I enjoyed the parts of the Hulk that were sans Hulk, but after a while the violence grew both tedious and Michael Bay-style incomprehensible.

04. WALL-E (06/27/2008)
Pixar has had some relative misses for me (I wasn't crazy about Monsters Inc., Cars was a letdown as well), but they still produce movies that are all solidly a B- or higher in quality. Wall-E is a solid A+, if only because it is a cartoon that doesn't talk down to its audience, and in fact has no target audience. Aaah I might do a separate post on this.

05. The Dark Knight (07/18/2008)
Believe all the hype. If you could win an Oscar for casting then this movie would be a shoe in -- now that Katie Holmes is out of the picture every single character is played perfectly. Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordan, Heath Ledger is the Joker. Not the funny campy Joker of the television show, or the demented murderous Joker of Batman: The Animated Series (Mark Hamill!!), but the Joker from The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum. Demented, the perfect foil. Many of the critics say that this is a Batman movie without enough Batman, but it really felt like Batman to me, through and through. The likelihood of their being a better movie, or a movie I connect with better, this year is slim to none.

Nerd movies I have yet to see, or have yet to come out:
Wanted -- This is on my list of things to see, and it is based on a comic book that I know I should pick up, but it came out the same night as WALL-E, and I do hate seeing movies based on books I haven't read. James McAvoy could get me to break that rule, since he did it Atonement and it was totally worth it.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army
God this looks pretty. The first movie actually gets worse with every repeat viewing, but Guillermo del Toro has like, money and stuff now.

X-Files: I Want to Believe
Besides being belaboured with unfortunate subtitles (X-Files: Fight the Future? C'mon Chris Carter), I'm not sure what could tie these films together. Considering the series ran for four more seasons after the first movie, I am hoping that somehow the movie can be both accessible to casual fans of the series while still tying up loose ends. Also, there'd better be a sex scene.

Also, I'm watching X-Files right now.